7 Simple Ways To Prepare Your Plumbing for the Holidays
Getting your home holiday-ready usually involves cleaning, decorating, and baking. However, most homeowners don’t consider preparing the plumbing for the holidays! The last thing you want is a grinchy, clogged toilet or backed-up drain to steal your holiday spirit. With all the extra holiday food, guests, and dishes come, well, extra holiday plumbing needs. Yep, your plumbing works overtime on the holidays. We don’t want seemingly small things, like a slow-draining sink, to become a big problem thanks to the increased traffic and usage.
Your household plumbing is the unsung hero of your home’s comfort. That’s why Santa’s helpers at Cam Plumbing wrote up a list of 7 simple ways to prepare your plumbing for the holidays. No need for a clogged toilet to back up your Christmas joy!
The Garbage Disposal
1. Please, No Leftovers Down The Drain
We know that after a long day of cooking, eating, and cleaning, it is easier to dump the leftovers into your sink. However, many foods should never go down your garbage disposal. A great way to prevent unwanted leftovers from finding their way down your drain is to use a sink strainer. Another method is moving the trash can next to the sink while you scrape to save that additional step.
2. What Goes Down The Garbage Disposal (And What Doesn’t)
You want everything that goes down the garbage disposal to stay down. While viewing your garbage disposal as a magic device is tempting, unfortunately, there is no holiday magic in the fantastic little machine under your sink. A garbage disposal unit can’t eat everything you throw its way. Many items can cause serious damage to the unit and clog your drains. In addition to familiarizing yourself with some of the common myths associated with garbage disposals, you should also avoid putting certain foods down the drain:
- Fibrous or stringy foods (such as celery or other tough vegetables)
- Rice, pasta, or bread-based products can expand when exposed to moisture.
- Animal bones and fat
- Paper, metal, or plastic materials (this should be obvious, but accidents happen)
This is so important it gets its own highlighted point. Please, do not dispose of grease down your drain. Grease is your plumbing’s kryptonite. Ensure everyone sends the grease to a plastic bag or can not the sink drain.
In addition, when you put food particles down the drain, always run hot water while running the garbage disposal and for at least 15-seconds after to help wash everything down.
3. Clean the Garbage Disposal
It is helpful to perform regular maintenance on your garbage disposal to prevent common garbage disposal issues. In addition, we recommend cleaning your garbage disposal before its big holiday debut. There are several cleaning methods you can choose. First, we recommend pouring rock salt and ice into your garbage disposal, then running cold water and turning on the disposal. The ice and rock salt work together to sharpen your blades and clear any food stuck there. Finally, toss half a lemon in every week or two to keep it smelling fresh and clean down there.
1. Clear Slow Drains
Slow drains might only bother you a little during regular bathroom use. However, you are sure to notice it when more than one family uses the sink! Clearing slow drains are the best way to ensure everyone can easily take a shower and wash their hands. Do a quick check-in with your drains to see which drains need cleaning, AKA which drains are running a little on the slow side.
There are several easy home solutions for clearing clogged drains.
- Use a plunger: sometimes, you can use a plunger on a slow drain to dislodge the clog and get things flowing smoothly again.
- Try vinegar and hot water: Vinegar is naturally acidic and can eat away any organic clogs in your drains. Pour vinegar into your drains and allow it to sit for several hours. Flush out the drain and hopefully dislodge the dissolved clog with hot water.
- A mixture of baking soda and vinegar: Baking soda is a cleaning agent that can wash away grease and sticky gunk. Sprinkle baking soda into the drains, and then pour vinegar on top of the baking soda. Let the combination sit in the drains for several hours. Then flush the mixture away with hot water.
2. Clear Slow Flowing Faucets
You want powerful water pressure for handwashing, dishwashing, and showers. However, the water flow from your faucet may sometimes feel sluggish due to calcium build-up. Calcium build-up occurs around faucets in homes with hard water. Calcium build-up often occurs around faucets, particularly in homes with hard water. This creates problems with the water flow and can lead to blockage. Several products are available to clear the residue, but we have a simple home remedy that works wonders too!
- First, scrub as much of the calcium scum off as possible.
- Next, wipe the faucet dry with a towel.
- Then, combine two parts baking soda with one part vinegar and mix it into a frothy paste.
- Grab some of the paste and rub it onto the surfaces affected by the calcium build-up.
- Finally, leave the paste on for five minutes. The paste should soften the mineral deposits.
3. Get Rid Of Any Weird Drain Smells
It is no secret that drains can harbor various unpleasant smells. You don’t want your drains to compete with those freshly baked holiday treats! Preparing your drains with a little odor elimination is a nice touch for your guests’ noses and is simple and cost-effective.
There are several options. First, you can pour a mixture of salt and water down your sink. This treatment has the added bonus of preventing grease build-up in your kitchen drains. Second, you can boil water, pour it down the drain then follow it with a vinegar solution or baking soda.
4. Put Drain Strainers In Sinks
Purchasing drain strainers is an inexpensive and effective solution to ensure that guests don’t accidentally put things down your drain that should not go down — like food, hair, and your great-aunt’s bracelet!
5. Wait On The Dishwasher
You want to get all the dishes squared away so you can relax for the evening. While it is tempting to run the dishwasher while you hand wash the bigger dishes, resist the urge. Usually, the dishwasher and garbage disposal share the same drain. So, running the dishwasher while you run the disposal can wind up pushing the garbage disposal waste into the dishwasher’s cleaning cycle, effectively defeating your efficiency mission! To make matters worse, if your drains become clogged, running the dishwasher can result in the water backing up and flooding your kitchen!
1. Don’t Over Flush
Give each of the toilets in your homes a flush check to ensure everything goes smoothly. To encourage guests to use toilet paper sparingly, buy single-ply so that your toilets don’t run the risk of a toilet paper overload!
2. Check The Water Pressure
Before your holiday guests arrive, check the water pressure in your toilets. Start by flushing each toilet in every bathroom and watch the amount of water and the flow speed. Make sure everything flows smoothly, and there is no constant running water or slow flushing toilets.
3. Trash Bins Everywhere
Always add an easily accessible trash can to each bathroom so your guests can throw away items that should not go down your toilet—for example, baby wipes and sanitary wipes.
Another helpful tip is to put a plunger in an easy-to-find spot in each bathroom. This can save your toilets and your guests some embarrassment!
A Few Extra Plumbing Tips
1. Take Extra Precautions During Freezing Temperatures
The holiday season usually means colder temperatures. If the temperature drops below freezing for an extended time, there is a risk your pipe system can freeze. Check your weather forecast and if you see a deep cold snap in the near future, let your faucets drip with warm water or open the cabinets leading to your pipes so warm air can easily reach them. Always disconnect all water hoses!
2. Check In With Your Hot Water Heater
No one wants a cold shower – especially when it’s cold outside! Before your guests arrive, ensure yourwater heater can handle the extra work! Do a quick look to verify, there are no problems with the water heater tank, such as leaks or strange sounds.
You can adjust the water temperature to ensure that everyone in your house gets the hot water they need for a shower. Just be careful not to adjust the temperature too high! Also, remember that turning up the heat on your water heater could increase your utility bill.
3. Wait 10-15 Minutes Between Showers
Try to space out the time between showers. Don’t wait until the last minute for everyone to get ready at once. Waiting 10-15 minutes between showers allows your hot water supply to replenish and allows your drains the chance to clear out.
Seasoned Plumbers For Seasonal Plumbing
While preparing your plumbing for the holidays, you might notice signs of impending holiday plumbing doom! If that’s the case,call our team of experienced, licensed plumbers in Southwest Florida. We know you want to focus on time with your family and holiday traditions. That’s why our team of seasoned plumbers is here to help you with your seasonal plumbing problems. From everyone here at Cam Plumbing, we wish you and your plumbing a very merry holiday!